By Colleen Shalby
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) At a recent panel at Sundance, four female filmmakers discussed the disparity of female representation in their industry and what can be done to improve the statistics.
PARK CITY, Utah
As the “Me Too” movement intensifies its look at the oftentimes abominable treatment of women in Hollywood, female filmmakers are devising ways to make changes.
Last month at Sundance, 37 percent of the festival’s 122 feature films were directed by women, a stat amplified by an abundance of panels focused on women in film. At the Women in Film panel “The Road to 50/50,” four female filmmakers discussed the disparity of representation in their industry, and in the process offered an unofficial road map for progress.
It’s a simple concept, increase the number of women represented in film by hiring more women.
So what’s holding people back? One possibility is criteria, suggests Stephanie Allain, producer of “Leimert Park,” which premiered in Sundance’s new indie episodic section. A search for candidates with the most impressive backgrounds typically discounts those who haven’t yet been given a chance. Her solution? Alter the standard for employment.
“I used to say, ‘I want to hire the best people for the job,'” Allain said. “Then I realized by saying that, I was looking at metrics that were like, ‘Who has the best resume? Who has the most awards? Who’s done the most work?’ And typically, those were all men, and most of them were white men. So I stopped saying that and started to say, ‘I want my sets to be diverse with all kinds of people, and I want to find the best of all kinds of people.'”
Diversity on sets can also be key in lending more authenticity to a film.
“It’s important that if you’re going to tell a story about a black woman, there better be a black woman somewhere in the room,” said Mel Jones, director of “Leimert Park.”